Attack the Block (2011)
May 11, 2011 3 Comments
Caught mid-mugging by an unidentified falling object, graduate nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker) escapes the flick-knife of Moses’ and his horde of hoodies and returns to her resident council estate. Seizing the opportunity to loot the car crushed in the impact, Moses (John Boyega) is attacked by a strange creature which he manages to track down to a small play park where, with the help of his friends, he manages to slay it. When more creatures attack, however, our heroes must unite in order to save their block – and lives – from the ensuing alien invasion.
Joe Cornish (of The Adam and Joe Show) makes his directorial début with Attack the Block, a film produced by Big Talk Productions: the company that helped bring Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgram VS. The World to a well-worn DVD near you. While this might put Attack the Block in inordinately esteemed company, the film nevertheless manages to hold its own even up against Edgar Wright’s trilogy of modern classics. Despite constituting his first time in the directors chair, Attack the Block boasts some of the best camera-work, most thrilling action and accomplished all around direction of the year so far.
While Cornish may be responsible for such trimmings as the striking visuals and break-neck pacing, it is the film’s cast of unknowns (and Nick Frost) who make Attack the Block what it is: a wonder to behold. From our first introduction to Moses, Pest (Alex Esmail), Dennis (Franz Drameh), Jerome (Leeon Jones) and Biggz (Simon Howard) to our final moments with our surviving heroes, it is an absolute joy to immerse oneself in a side of Brixton you’d usually rather eat pavement than spend time in. The young actors really do make for a compelling ensemble, with their initial incomprehensibility quickly giving way to honest, unsuspecting likeability.
Happy slapping the English language for everything it’s worth, Cornish’s script reads like a day at court with aliens thrown in to keep the “fed” busy long enough for audiences to actually hear the defendant’s statement. Boasting a perhaps unsurprising amount of bite for a movie about carnivorous space spores – the characters sporadically take time off from vandalising aliens to roast the police, the NHS and society in general – there is more on offer here than albeit highly quotable one-liners. As the assorted characters fall victim to the beautifully original antagonistic mess of pitch-black fur and glow-in-the-dark teeth, it quickly becomes apparent that – forget Battle: Los Angeles – Cornish has crafted one of the most viscerally entertaining alien invasion movies of all time.
Fun, expertly crafted and a relatively consistent antidote to Frost’s own Paul, Attack the Block is a entertaining thrill-ride from beginning to end. Atoning for March’s comparatively dismal Anuvahood, Joe Cornish has somehow managed to create a Landan chav-centric film that doesn’t leave audiences wanting to hurt a hoodie.